Despite dropping the first 3 games of this series the Wings have somehow managed to make it a series as they have forced a Game 6 back in Detroit on Tuesday night. Despite being drastically out shot 42-22, outplayed for most of the game and having to kill off several undisciplined penalties the Wings managed to do complete their first comeback of the series erasing a 2 goal deficit in the 3rd period to prevail 4-3 for the second straight game. The trend continued as these teams played their 5 straight 1 goal difference however unlike the PP was not a factor in this game as both teams failed to find the back of the net.
The Sharks were the only team to find the back of the net in a first period where they managed 17 shots on Howard thanks in large part to two PP opportunities. The Wings did however have the best scoring opportunity of the period as Niemi absolutely robbed Jonathan Ericsson with the glove hand. Not long after Dan Boyle fired a puck on net from the point and Game 3 hero Devin Setogouchi tipped a waist high puck through the legs of Howard who had no chance on the play.
The scoring picked up a little in the second with both teams putting a 1 spot on the board in the final five minutes. Joe Pavelski managed to finish off a 2 on 1 with Ryan Clowe and beat a sprawling Howard to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. Less than a minute later the magician Pavel Datsyuk did what he does best… as he found Niklas Kronwall sneaking in from the point and hit him with another beauty pass and Kronwall finished the play off.
The third period started with a band as Logan Coture managed to break free after Dany Heatley hit him with a pass and with just Howard to deal with Coture squeaked the puck through Howards legs to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead at home. It seemed like an insurmountable lead however the comeback began off a bit of a lucky play as Zetterberg fanned on a shot from the slot and the puck squirted to a wide open Ericsson and this time Ericsson managed to put the puck in the empty cage.
Down by 1 the Wings managed to tie the game up as a Kronwall shot was tipped wide and Dan Cleary worked hard to pick up the loose puck behind the net and then bank it in from behind the net of Setogouchi who had fallen in the crease. It wasn’t pretty but it didn’t matter to Cleary as his first goal of the series was a huge one for the Wings giving them new life. The game remained tied until Datsyuk hit Lidstrom with a pass at the point and Lidstrom fired a rocket that was tipped by Tomas Holmstrom who was doing what only Holmstrom can do in front of the net; Niemi didn’t stand a chance.
With 2 games down and 2 to go the Wings will look to do what the Blackhawks couldn’t earlier in this postseason; complete the ultimate comeback in professional sports. If they continue to get out shot and outworked as drastically as they have in this series it will require 2 more performances from Jimmy Howard like the Wings got in game 5.
About the Author
Written by Kirk Butler
Born and raised in Murray Harbour - PEI. Like many Canadians hockey is my religion; as a kid I had the pleasure of playing my minor hockey with Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards of the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning. I played competitive hockey until the age of 21 which included stops in the American Prep School System, Canadian Junior Hockey and the CIS. I now get my competitive fix on the golf course as a scratch golfer. More to come: Kirk Butler PEI, Canada